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Cardio workouts offer many benefits, including improving mood and reducing the risk of heart disease, but the most popular reasons people engage in aerobic exercise are to burn fat and lose weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 150 to 300 minutes of aerobic activity for good health and weight loss. Another option is 20 to 30 minutes of interval training—alternating between maximum intensity and low intensity effort—that burns more fat in less time, according to ScienceDaily.com.

5 Step Aerobics

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Step aerobics is a fun cardiovascular workout if you have the coordination and no knee issues. Step classes combine the fun of dance and music and an increase burn as you step up and down on a platform. Thirty minutes of step aerobics burns 300 calories, but since most classes have at least 40 to 45 minutes of active stepping, you’ll burn even more.

4 Rowing

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Like swimming, rowing engages the entire body, making it a great fat burning exercise, as well as toning arms, back, abs and legs. It’s ideal if you want to burn fat without impact on your joints, although it can cause back strain. Vigorous rowing for 30 minutes burns approximately 255 calories.

3 Bicycling

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Like running, bicycling can be done outside or on stationary equipment indoors, making it a great all-year workout choice. The amount of fat burned depends on the speed and terrain and can be anywhere from 300 to 495 calories per 30-minute ride. Bicycling can be fun, but it’s not without risk. It’s important to check your bike to ensure it’s operating properly, and always wear a helmet.

2 Swimming

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Swimming requires the use of the entire body, boosting its intensity and fat burning power. It offers the added benefit of keeping you cool on a hot day. Thirty minutes of swimming burns 300 to 330 calories, depending on the stroke. The crawl and butterfly strokes offer the most fat burn.

1 Running

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One of the easiest and fastest ways to burn fat is by running. Running requires no equipment except quality shoes. If the weather and terrain are bad, you can use a treadmill. Running a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes burns 300 calories on a 125-pound person, according to Harvard Health Publications. Increase your speed to a 6-minute mile and you’ll burn a whopping 495 calories.

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